Sleep is something that parents always crave. When the children are babies, you chase after the late night/early morning feedings and the crying. As toddlers, they discover that mobility is less hindered at night while mom and dad are snoring. This allows for maximum discovery and minimal parental supervision. As teenagers? You got to be kidding. Once you have a teenage girl out on a date, your heart stops, your head spins, and the last thing you want is sleep. Instead? You want heavy drugs and VERY large bore weapons!
Recently, I was having trouble sleeping. The teenager was on a date, my bride was tossing and turning because she wasn’t feeling well, and I just couldn’t sleep no matter what I tried. So, I did the only thing a man can do under these circumstances. I retreated to a quiet corner of the living room to meditate in the dark. In the space of just 10 minutes, I saw everyone in the family....plus a couple of people I had never met before in my life. Now at midnight, you don’t expect a lot of wandering around the house, but then you have never lived at my house.
First up, again employing the child radar that detects the proximity of my butt to a seat, the youngest boy appears from the darkness like an apparition. I ask him, “Why are you up?”
“I couldn’t find my stuffed teenage mutated lizardman”
“Wasn’t he in your arms when you went to bed, ... over three hours ago?” I say squinting at my watch.
“Have you looked in your bed, maybe tangled in your sheets?”
“Oh, .. Uh, ...”
“Okaaay” he whines in his best impression of Grumpy the dwarf. He then rubs his eyes, scratches his head, yawns, and wanders back to his room.
Settled down, I begin to let my mind wander, just as the 7 year old boy appears two inches from my face. After I got my heart rate restored to a pounding of less than 200 beats per minute, he announces to me:
“Harry is not in his bed!”
“Yeah, I know, he just came in here looking for his teenaged whatchamadoodle.”
“Oh, that.... He left it on the floor in the bathroom!”
“Okay, go get it for him and both of you get back to bed.”
“Okay!” Now he then moves off like a turtle stuck to fly paper, as I attempt to regain my composure and get drowsy again.
No sooner than he leaves the room than the little girl strolls in and starts to put a video tape in the VCR. Something that she isn’t allowed to do without adult supervision. I watch in total amazement as she plugs in her favorite Disney video and sits down in front of the one eyed monster, operating the equipment like a video professional. This time surprise was on my side. As I walk up behind her, she screams, yells, and runs from the room, headed straight for her Mom. I get the tape cut off just as Mom runs in to confront the intruder.
“Oh, it’s you! What are you doing to scare her out of bed!”
“Me scare her??? She just got up and came in to plug in a video!”
“Why didn’t you stop her?”
“I did, that’s why she ran upstairs.”
“What are you doing up?”
“I couldn’t sleep, and besides somebody had to direct the @#$%(# traffic!”
As my bride mumbles about my insomnia and the vagaries of kids, we notice that we have drawn a small crowd. Now each of the boys are back, and boy are they mad! It seems that the ‘teenaged whateverthehellitis’ either fell or was pushed into the toilet. This naturally causes a major dispute between the boys, much to the delight of the little girl. Oh, but we aren’t done yet. We still haven’t assembled all of the troops! Just as the din has reached its zenith, or at least so I thought, the door flies open to admit the teenager and two girl friends who have decided to spend the night at our house.
My reaction to the two new interlopers was mixed. I was thrilled that the teenager had returned safely, but I was less than thrilled at being in my underwear in the midst of a rather large crowd. Closing my robe, I sit back down to watch the rest of the show. My bride is now yelling at the boys, the boys are screaming at each other, the little girl is trying to grab the teenager to give her a hug, the teenager is yelling at her friends so that she can be heard over the rest of the racket, and the two strangers are talking back and forth even louder so they can be heard. At one point I even heard one of her friends say, “Waaay Cooool, my house is always like, like, way too calm. This is like, ya’ know, like, a party!” I thought, Oh yeah like a Viking raiding party. Oddly enough, though, I am not real sure what happened next since I finally fell asleep..........
(Again, a note to the reader. I would be lying if I said I made the above story up, or that it was a work of fiction. Unfortunately, it really did happen, and oddly enough, now almost 20 years later, I can remember it happening like it was last night.) ~ Michael S. Pauley